What do the Kardashian’s, P Diddy, Queen Latifah, iPad’s and Snooki from the Jersey Shore all have in common? For better or for worse it’s Branding, my dear!
It’s a new year, and before you can declare that it’s time for a brand new you, you need to know what your brand is in the first place. We cannot change what we don’t know or acknowledge.
Are you one of those people who says, “I don’t care about what people think of me. I am who I am?” Well, who exactly are you? And why don’t you care about what others think?
While I don’t believe anyone should solely base their goals, dreams and personal decisions on what other’s think, if you don’t at least consider it, you may be limiting yourself in ways that you’re not even aware – personally, professionally and financially.
Could you have a false impression about how you come across? We’ve all met people like that. Size 14 thinks she’s a four. Corny thinks he’s cool. And Ghetto thinks she’s classy. Personally, I can remember early on when my bubble was burst. I was about 14 years old, and, as I approached a group of neighborhood kids, a guy said, “Here comes wild Deya.” I couldn’t understand why he would say that. I thought I was a fly and fabulous young lady. I was. But I also got into a lot of fights with jealous young ladies around-the-way. I was an only child and very small for my age. I had a lot of heart, a lot of mouth and talked a lot of trash. While that same mouth and attitude kept a lot of bullies from taking advantage of me, those same characteristics cast a certain image of me – wild Deya. My feelings were hurt when he called me that, mostly because I had a crush on him. At the same time, it was an early wake-up call for me. Who you want to be and how you want to come across has to manifest in your actions and daily lifestyle – not just once in a while or on special occasions.
We must create our personal brands on purpose with purpose. Every day, we get a chance to improve upon it – that is, if we’re focused. A good image doesn’t just happen because in our hearts we believe that we’re good people. Bottom line, people don’t have time to invest in finding out who you are deep down inside. Either you show them or you don’t.
Think about it. We buy the brands that we like because they’ve been designed with a particular image, style, taste and emotion attached to them. Everyone from Gucci, Mac make-up to Payless took time to brand itself; we covet them or we reject them. Have you ever bought something because of its brand name, even if it wasn’t that much better than the off-brand, even if you couldn’t really afford it? Likewise, have you ever rejected something or someone based on its name? In other words, you drew an opinion about someone or something based upon their reputation, what it represented to you or others.
So again, I ask you, what’s your name brand? Why is it valuable, and why should anyone buy into it? We place value, judgments and even emotion on names when we hear them. In entertainment, the names Usher, Patti or Whitney evoke certain thoughts in our mind. When people hear your name, what do they think? How does it make them feel?
I recently conducted an extensive interview ( Click Here to listen to full interview ) about what it really means to strategically “brand” oneself with a global branding guru to the stars and to corporate America, Melissa Dawn Johnson, author of Brand Me, Turn Your Passion into Profit NOW. As you will hear in our interview, not only is branding crucial, but it also has a direct impact on how you’re valued.
Make your name one that represents high value by having good character and integrity. Stand up for what you believe in. Develop what’s in your heart, mind and spirit. Let your words ring true by following up with a spirit of excellence and action. In 2011, if you really enjoy name brands, create your own. Invest in you.
Deya “Direct” Smith is a producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, creator and host of Girlfriend FM. She can be reached at DeyaDirect@aol.com.